The 12 Best Bed Sheets

Jul 2, 2020

Category: Living

Considering how much time we spend in bed and how important sleep is to our physical, mental health, and overall well being, it’s not that difficult to understand why a quality set of sheets is well worthy of the investment. And while one might think there wouldn’t be much to acquiring some new bedding, this really couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s an enormous variety of sheet sets currently available, all massively ranging in quality and comfortability.

So, to help upgrade your bedding set up, we’ve spoken with experts and performed some of the most relaxing research we’ve ever conducted to bring you this detailed guide to the best bed sheets. On top of our picks for the dozen greatest sheet sets currently on the market, we’ll also be delving into what to look for when buying a sheet set, exploring the different material options most commonly used, and clarifying a few key terms to get you on a path to using better bedding.

Photo: Tuft & Needle Linen Sheets

Ironing Out The Details

What To Consider When Buying New Sheets

While on the surface it may not seem like there’s much going on with sheets, there are actually quite a few factors that should be taken into consideration when shopping around. Below, we’ll dive into the elements to look for, as well as define a few terms you should know when in the market.

Material: This is unequivocally the single most important factor to consider when purchasing new sheets. What sheets are made of is ultimately what determines how they’ll feel and how durable they’ll be. Because this area is of the utmost importance, we’ll be exploring it further in detail later on below.

Thread Count: This is a specific rating that denotes the number of threads found in a single square inch of a sheet’s construction, calculated by combining the number of vertical and horizontal threads. We will also be exploring this area in greater detail below.

Breathability: Some sheets are much better at allowing air to pass through them than others. This mainly comes down to the materials used and how the sheet is constructed, though it’s of immense importance, as you want ample airflow when sleeping during the warmer summer months. On the flip-side of the coin is warmth, which decreases as a sheet’s breathability increases (and vis versa).

Durability: While this also mainly comes down to materials and construction techniques, a sheet’s overall durability is an important area to take into consideration as it ultimately determines how long the sheet will last, which hugely effects whether or not a particular sheet set is a worthwhile investment.

Ease Of Care:  This is an area that varies wildly, as some sheets are much more difficult to maintain than others. Some materials — such as silk — are usually recommended to have dry-cleaned rather than being thrown in the wash at home. Other sensitive materials will often require delicate cycles or air-drying.

Ply: This term specifically refers to the number of yarns comprising the threads used to make the sheet. This ultimately affects how heavy a sheet’s construction is, though doesn’t necessarily impact its breathability.

Staple: This is an important term to know, as it plays a vital role in how a sheet is constructed, and consequently how it feels. The word “staple” here denotes the length of the cotton fibers being utilized in a sheet’s construction. Using longer fibers allows manufacturers to use fewer total threads which can play an enormous role in a sheet’s durability and lifetime.

Appearance: In addition to there being a wide array of construction options, there’s also a bevy of choices when it comes to color and appearance. Different sheets boast different weave patterns, prints, and stitching, making it well worth your while to explore the various aesthetic options that are out there before making your final purchase.

Photo: Casper Cool Supima

Sheet Constructions

Exploring The Main Materials Used In Sheets

Sheets have existed in one form or another for millennia, and consequently are available in an enormous amount of material options. There are, however, a handful of constructions that are most commonly utilized for bed sheets. To help you find which one is right for you, we’ll dive into a cursory explanation of each one below.

Bamboo: Derived from fibers from the bamboo plant, this material, like Tencel, is incredibly soft, more environmentally-friendly than regular cotton, and can have natural moisture-wicking qualities. Bamboo sheets do tend to cost a bit more than normal cotton items, and are also known to wrinkle more than other materials, plus aren’t quite as durable as their Tencel-made counterparts. It’ s also worth noting that, like cotton. bamboo comes in a slew of varying qualities.

Cotton: Cotton has long been the go-to material for making sheets for the last several hundred years or so. This lightweight fiber is durable, affordable to produce and manufacturer, stands up well to prolonged frequent use, provides an ideal temperature, and is usually hypoallergenic. This fluffy fiber is also what many other sheet constructions are derived from. Unfortunately, even 100% cotton products can be of wildly-varying qualities, which is why it’s important to look into the specific type of cotton material being used in each sheet.

Egyptian Cotton: Also commonly referred to as “Pima Cotton,” Egyptian Cotton is a top-shelf version of the fiber with longer staples that allows for a weave that’s both markedly softer and stronger. Furthermore, Egyptian Cotton not only boasts an overall more premium feel but they also absorb moisture better than regular cotton — though obviously the one major downside to Egyptian Cotton is its relatively exorbitant cost.

Flannel: Comprised of finely-brushed cotton fibers — hence the material also being known as “brushed cotton” — flannel items have a fleece-like feel that is warm and fuzzy to the touch. Flannel bedding has been favored by those in colder climates and during the winter months for its ability to retain warmth, though this same attribute also makes flannel less-than-conducive to use in warmer regions or during the summer.

Linen: Though “linen” is sometimes used as a blanket term for bed sheeting in general, it is in fact a material, derived from the flax plant. On top of boasting natural cooling and antimicrobial properties, linen sheets have a distinctive and semi-rustic appearance and a soft feeling that only becomes softer with each wash. This mainly comes from flax fibers being markedly larger than cotton fibers, resulting in a wider weave that allows more air to freely pass through it.

Microfleece: A material that’s actually derived from polyester, microfleece is a synthetic that affords a feel similar to that of flannel or an organic animal coat wools. This feeling is achieved through microfleece sporting piling — when the ends of the fibers become frayed over time with wear and tear — with small but frayed ends. This material is also fairly water-resistant, dries incredibly fast, is durable, easy to maintain/care for, and can be produced at an exceedingly accessible price point. Because this synthetic fleece material comes from polyester, however, it is a bit lacking in the breathability department.

Modal: Modal is a material that’s comparable to bamboo and Tenac, comprised of treated fibers, this time taken from the beech tree, rather than the eucalyptus tree or bamboo plant. Like its fellow tree-derived materials, it’s eco-friendly, breathable, and soft to the touch.

Percale: While this one technically isn’t a material, “percale” is a term you’ll see pop up a lot when shopping for sheets. Percale is a specific type of weave pattern — also known as a “plain weave” — that’s breathable and soft and crisp to the touch. Possessing a noticeably airy feel, percale sheets also have a distinctive matte quality to them, rather than being shiny like silk or sateen. Typically when you see this term, it’s denoting a cotton construction (of this weave).

Polyester: This synthetic material is comprised of a polymer fiber weave that’s tremendously durable and can be produced at an affordable price. First developed in the 1950s, polyester is also much more wrinkle-resistant than organic fabrics. The primary downside to polyester, however, is unquestionably its feel, which, while not rough, isn’t as soft as cotton-derived materials. It’s also one of the least breathable bed sheet materials out there, and stains more easily than many organic materials.

Sateen: Sateen is another cotton-derived material that offers a unique feel due to its weave and the types of fibers that constitute it. Similar to satin, sateen has a remarkably smooth feel, resulting from the large number of fibers found at the surface. And while these make for a shiny and luxurious-feeling material, the weave is also particularly subject to breaking down over time.

Silk: This is an extremely high-end material that is produced from the protein fibers naturally made by silkworms. Offering a wildly-smooth and soft feel, silk boasts optimal comfort year-round, keeping its user cozy during the winter and nice and cool during the warmer parts of the year. The obvious downside to this ultra-premium top-shelf construction is its equally top-shelf price, and its difficulty to upkeep and maintain. It’s also fairly delicate and can stain, very easily.

Tencel: Originally developed in the early 1970s, Tencel is a material made from cellulose fibers extracted from eucalyptus trees. Extremely soft to the touch, this material has natural moisture-wicking properties and is remarkably durable for how soft it is, making it a very environmentally friendly option, especially when coupled with Tencel’s eco-friendly manufacturing process.

Photo: Purple SoftStretch Sheets

The Thread Count Fallacy

Exploring The Real Qualities That Make For Soft Sheets

While historically thread count has played an important role when shopping for sheets, this is really no longer the case. Thread count is a factor that should still be taken into account, though it’s far from the end all be all of qualities to hone in on, with elements like material, ply-count, and construction playing equally, if not more important roles in a sheet’s overall quality.

Sheets that have thread counts rated in the 250 to 450 range will typically yield a pretty comfortable piece of bedding, though you should definitely be wary of products that advertise abnormally high thread counts (anything exceeding 600 or so), especially if the price is suspiciously low. And while this is true whether you’re buying vintage cars or bed sheets, as a rule of thumb: if it seems like it’s too good to be true, it almost certainly is.

In a similar vein, it’s worth noting that sheets made from cotton — be it sateen, flannel, or percale — need to be broken in with time, and will grow increasingly soft with each use and wash cycle. And while you should expect it to take some time, washing a new cotton sheet set on a heavy cycle several times will typically speed up this break-in process.

Disclaimer: All prices shown reflect twin sizing unless stated otherwise in the copy. 

Casper Cool Supima

Made from by the same company that’s been disrupting the mattress industry in recent years, this entry gets its name from its type of cotton construction, which consists of 100% Supima entirely sourced from the State of California, where this sheet set was designed. Also offered in a white and grey color option, this attractive sheet set boasts a percale weave, two-ply construction, and a 400 thread count. Machine washable and backed by a one year warranty, Casper’s Cool Supima sheet set is also OEKO-TEX 100-certified.

Purchase: $45+

Pendleton Plaid Flannel Sheet Set

When looking for a quality set of flannel sheets, it’s hard to do better than going with the experts at American heritage brand, Pendleton Woolen Mills. Sold in three different plaid patterns, these 100% cotton flannel sheets are perfect for keeping you cozy over the chilly winter months. Consisting of a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and a pair of pillowcases, this set is also fully machine-washable. And, in Pendleton’s typical fashion, this plaid offering boasts the same rugged and durable nature exhibited on the rest of the brand’s hardwearing outer garments and rugged workwear.

Purchase: $85+

Thread Experiment Sheet Sets

Thread Experiment is one of our favorite brands in the bedding sector, making ultra high-quality wares that are comfortable and built to last a lifetime. Made from a matte sateen and boasting a 400 thread count, the company’s basic sheet sets (which are anything but basic) are available in an enormous variety of colors and patterns, from solid hues to multiple houndstooth patterns to sailboats to pineapples and palm trees to plaid (seen here) to stripes to fleur-de-lis, and dozens more.

Purchase: $98+

Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set

Since the company’s inception in 2014, Brooklinen has fast become another leader in the high-end bedding and loungewear spaces. Using a direct-to-consumer sales model that eliminates the middleman and lowers overall costs for buyers, the company produces unmistakably quality goods, with its Luxury Sheet Set being no exception. Packing a 480 thread count and boasting OEKO-TEX-certification, these sheets sport a slightly shiny finish and are sold in nine regular colors and five limited-edition options. Brooklinen’s Luxury Sheet Set also won Good Housekeeping’s 2019 Best Overall Sheet award and holds a 4.5 star (out of 5) rating from well over 13,000 reviews.

Purchase: $116+

Purple SoftStretch Sheets

Purple has been slowly revolutionizing the be mattress industry, with its beds that replace traditional materials and construction with a cutting-edge foam layering system backed by the mail-order mattress outfit’s hyper-elastic polymer grid. And when Purple set out to create its sheets, it took a similarly modern approach, ditching conventional materials with a specially-engineered “SoftStretch” material (composed of 67% rayon, 23% polyester, 10% spandex) that is remarkably soft, breathable, and moisture-wicking, as well as highly durable. These sheets are also offered in six colors, too.

Purchase: $119+

Tuft & Needle Linen Sheets

If you’re in the market for a premium take on a classic, no-frills, luxury linen sheet set, Tuft & Needle’s set is a stellar choice. OKEO-TEX-certified, these sheets are made from certified European flax and offer a luxurious feel and an understated appearance. Outfitted with an extra-deep 16” pocket (that fits a standard 14” tall mattress), the set’s fitted sheets also boast heavy-duty elastic that will keep the sheet in place and won’t quickly stretch out over time. And, in addition to a money-backed 100-night trial, T&N also offers free returns and a two-year warranty.

Purchase: $175+

Coyuchi Organic Crinkled Percale Minimalist Set

Made up of two pillowcases, a fitted sheet, and a matching duvet cover with an 8” interior flap, inside ties, an coconut shell buttons, Coyuchi’s Organic Crinkled sheet set boasts a percale weave and a distinctive “crinkled” appearance, though is still incredibly soft to the touch. Unlike most materials, this sheet is also nearly at its softest right out of the package and doesn’t require the same break-in time as competitor’s offerings. Sold in five different colors, this offering is also created with a heavy focus on environmental sustainability and the ethical treatment of workers, having earned GOTS, Fair Trade, and Made Safe certifications.

Purchase: $198+

Parachute Percale Venice Set

When searching for the very best in luxury bedding or home goods, it never hurts to take a look at the products being employed by upscale hotels. Made in Portugal from ultra-premium 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton, this luxury sheet set is used and sold by one of our go-to staycation spots: the Parachute Hotel in Venice Beach, California. On top of the noticeably top-shelf feel of these sheets, they feature a variety of high-end touches such as twill ties at all four corners of the duvet cover and reinforced buttons.

Purchase: $239+

Rough Linen Smooth Linen Sheet Set

The flax weave that constitutes linen sheets normally has a hallmark crispness to it, however, not everyone enjoys this characteristic property. If you happen to fall into that group of people, then you may be interested in the Smooth Linen Sheet Set from Rough Linen. Each Smooth Linen Sheet Set is individually crafted and cut in California and woven to the company’s exact spec. Soft and breathable, this set also gives customers the choice between a pair of flat sheets or one flat sheet and one fitted sheet (plus pillowcases).

Purchase: $280+

Orose 4Pcs Silk Bed Sheet Set

No list of the best bed sheets would be complete without a silk-constructed entry, and our pick in this category goes to Orose’s four-piece set. Produced in 11 different vibrant color options — including an incredibly rich and deep black hue — this top-shelf sheet set is made by hand and entirely composed of natural Mulberry silk. Moisture-wicking and highly-breathable, these premium silk sheets have a 400 threat count and offer a sleeping experience comparable to that of a luxury hotel. And, while the manufacturer claims this set is machine washable, we’d still recommend going the dry-cleaning route.

Purchase: $338+

Versace 4-Piece Barocco Cotton Sheet Set

While better known for its elite wardrobe and jewelry lineups, Versace produces a wide variety of other products including bedding. The Milan label’s four-piece sheet set is individually cut and sewn by hand in Italy, made entirely from Barocco cotton, and is decorated in Versace’s iconic “Baroque Border” print. Sold only in king and queen sizes, Versace also offers this sheet set in a gold on white version. And, while this is undeniably an ultra-high-end offering, you are nonetheless paying a not insignificant premium for the designer label alone.

Purchase: $875+

Tom Ford For Gucci Black Duvet Set

Prior to Tom Ford being known as a world-renowned blockbuster filmmaker and fashion designer extraordinaire, the Texas native served as a creative director at Gucci where he cut his teeth on various projects, including this wildly high-end sheet set (which was also previously featured in one of Tom Ford’s books). Constructed from 100% Egyptian cotton, this (queen-sized) sheet set sports the signature Gucci print pattern in a black on black colorway. No longer in production (though still purchasable), this entry isn’t simply a super premium piece of luxury bedding, it’s also a unique piece of modern designer label history.

Purchase: $5,750

The 12 Best Weighted Blankets

While everyone knows about the merits of sheets, few are privy to the many benefits offered by modern weighted blankets. With this in mind, we’ve pieced together this comprehensive guide to the best weighted blankets currently on the market, so you can be well on your way to building out the ultimate sleep setup.

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